Perfect ways to use peppers

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Nice raw, nicer roasted

There are so many ways to use beautiful coloured peppers in your food. The simplest is to remove seeds, chop the juicy flesh and add to any tossed salad. Or cut into thick strips and use as crudités with a dip. Or roast them and create some magic…for the smoky flavour of a roasted red pepper can give you a jam or a sauce or a soup that is brilliantly red, no doubt, but also a joy to present at a party table.

Be firm about your choice
When you are out buying these peppers, pick up ones that are not wrapped in clingfilm or ensconced in a plastic bag.
You need to feel the texture of the pepper: it should be smooth skinned and firm to touch. Just press the stem end. If it is a little mushy means the pepper is too ripe for the kitchen. Leave it. 
And storing them? Well, the fridge can take them but for a couple of days or three. Best consumed fresh from the market.

Call of the coloured

Peppers can add some attractive colour to food. Choose all three, the green, red and yellow. The earliest memory I have of pepper is the shimla mirch sabzi that we used to have in my growing up years. Small green capsicums with the stem end removed stuffed with a spicy potato masala and either sautéed in oil or baked. I remember making shimla mirch ke pakore once upon a time. Now that the market offers coloured ones too, the imagination can take wings.

Some great pepper partnerships

  • Indianise the dish. Take the red and yellow peppers, chop them and mix with steamed rice, chopped fresh paneer, sweet corn and add leek and mixed herbs for flavour. Stuff this in halved green peppers and cover them with grated cheese. Bake or grill. And see how the party takes off! Easy to do, easy to serve and easy to do in loads.
  • Peppers go great with pineapple. I do not know why but any salad with a mix of peppers, fresh pineapple, and sweet corn seems to have gone down in cookbook history! This again is so easy to do, easy to serve etc. There, I have given you yet another great party dish!
  • Another favourite that pepper sauce clings to is pasta. Any pasta! Take one onion, one carrot to one red pepper, roast, puree and sautée it in olive oil with a hint of tomato puree, cream and a sprinkling of white pepper and dried basil. Tossed the blanched fusilli in this sauce and served it with a sprig of parsley. Happiness in their smiles!

Present a food gift
This roasted pepper jam in a glass jar with a ribbon tied on it makes a great preserve and a wonderful gift for dinners and parties.

Preheat oven to 180?C.
Arrange four red capsicums (seeded, quartered) and two tomatoes (seeded, quartered) together on a baking tray. Sprinkle some salt over them. Bake them for twenty to twenty five minutes and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, peel the red capsicums and tomatoes and puree them in a blender.  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a non-stick pan, add 3-4 chopped garlic cloves and sauté for thirty seconds, add prepared puree and cook for two minutes.
Add 3 tablespoon cider vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer and add 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons red chilli flakes and salt. Cook till the quantity reduces to half. Remove from heat. Cool and use or bottle and gift. 

For more pleasant surprises and delicious dishes you can create in the kitchen with this wonder ingredients browse through

Recommended recipes-

Chicken and Pepper Stir Fry,  Green Peas and Capsicum Stir Fry,  Roasted Pepper Chutney,  Penne With Three Capsicums And Mozzarella,  Aji Sauce,  Grilled Corn And Capsicum Toasties,  Chicken In Paprika And Pepper Sauce,  Tilli Phalli Shimla Mirch,  Fruit And Capsicum Kachumber

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.